Chat­ting about han­dling a crush

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PAUSE & PLAY - Ellie Tesher Ad­vice

Fol­low­ing are left­over ques­tions from my on­line chat, “Han­dling A Crush,” of July 8:

Q-My mar­ried brother (with whom I work in a fam­ily busi­ness) has been act­ing very friendly and even flirty with the new girl we hired.

She’s just out of col­lege and very sure of her­self, even though she’s new on the job.

Maybe it’s be­cause of her great fig­ure, and she’s pretty too, she knows that men are at­tracted to her.

I’ve seen my brother stand­ing way too close. He’s been “show­ing her around” the area at lunchtime and com­ing back late, etc.

I don’t think it’s be­come an af­fair, but I’m wor­ried.

What can I say to him with­out ac­cus­ing him of some­thing and mak­ing him an­gry with me? We have a very good work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

- Sis­ter Act

A-It should be ac­cept­able, in a good busi­ness re­la­tion­ship, to say some­thing non-ac­cus­ing but real… such as, “You seem dis­tracted at work, which is un­like you. Is there a rea­son? Any­thing we can talk about?”

If you’re close, he might open up about be­ing at­tracted to her. Or not. But he’ll pri­vately re­al­ize that his ac­tions are vis­i­ble and he should re­think what he’s do­ing.

If the op­tics be­gin to look more wor­ri­some, sug­gest that you two have an af­ter-work meet­ing.

Once alone, de­scribe ob­jec­tively what you see is go­ing on, tell him you care about him and his fam­ily, and ask if he has a plan for han­dling the fall­out of where this flir­ta­tion may all go.

His crush may’ve pro­gressed to­wards an af­fair, in which case try to have a re­al­ity-check con­ver­sa­tion about what he sees for the fu­ture.

Try to bring him back to earth about the prac­ti­cal course of such li­aisons – what may be just a fling to him and the young worker can po­ten­tially dev­as­tate his fam­ily.

Q-My daugh­ter keeps talk­ing about her crush on her boyfriend at col­lege. I hear sig­nals of ev­ery­thing I would’ve warned her against if I’d met him first.

He brags about be­ing an ath­lete (though he doesn’t par­tic­i­pate in any col­lege sport). He misses classes he finds “use­less,” and leans on her tu­tor­ing him to get through some cour­ses.

He tells her what clothes, makeup, etc. to buy (he never buys her a gift, but fre­quently en­cour­ages her to spend my money since I sup­port her).

She’s crazy about him. If I openly crit­i­cize him, I can push her closer. How do I fight a blind crush?

-Wor­ried Mama

A–You’re a Wise Mama to know the dan­ger in just try­ing to come be­tween her and this guy. Out of pride, she’d feel al­most obliged to prove you wrong.

Her boyfriend sounds con­trol­ling. If he re­al­izes you’re set against him, he’ll ma­nip­u­late her into think­ing that you’re the one try­ing to con­trol her.

It can be­come a dan­ger­ous bat­tle of wills with her caught in the mid­dle.

She’s NOT blind, so gen­tly help her open her eyes and see this guy more clearly.

In­vite him to your home, be gra­cious, and let her see how he han­dles him­self and re­sponds to your fam­ily mem­bers.

Talk to him with­out judg­ment, show­ing in­ter­est in his goals and his plans to reach them. Do this when your daugh­ter can also hear what he says.

Also, in pri­vate with your daugh­ter, be pre­pared to lis­ten to her rea­sons for car­ing for him, and to not over­re­act.

Once she doesn’t have to de­fend him, she won’t be “blind” to any­thing that both­ers her about him.

Read Ellie Monday to Satur­day. Email ellie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice.

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